Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

How to diagnose boot problem

  1. #1

    London, UK
    Posts : 3
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64

    How to diagnose boot problem


    My question is about how to determine where in the boot process things are going wrong. If I boot from a full shut down, I typically see the four blue window panes on a black background. I want to see the rotating progress indicator below, and if that doesn't show within 10 seconds or so, I know the boot will stall. So I restart, usually twice, stalling at the same point. Then I get the statement 'Preparing Automatic Repair'. But again, the rotating progress indicator won't show. So on the next attempt I press F8 as the machine starts. I get to choose the top option (Windows Boot Manager (P1: Samsung SSD 850 Pro 256GB)) from the resulting screen and away we go - the system boots up and works fine.

    The PC is a month old with the following specs. Temperatures are good and there's lots of free space on each drive.

    Computer type: PC/Desktop
    SystemManufacturer/Model Number: Scan 3XS Custom
    OS: Windows 8.1 Pro x64
    CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K
    Motherboard: ASUS X99-A
    Memory: Corsair DDR4 16GB
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
    Sound Card: Realtek on-board
    Hard Drives:
    Samsung SSD 850 Pro 256GB (OS)
    Seagate ST2000DM001 SATA 2TB (Software installs)
    Western Digital WD20EZRX-22D8PB0 SATA 2TB (Documents)
    PSU: Corsair RM750
    Case: Corsair Carbide 330R
    Cooling: Noctua NH-U14S
    Browser: Chrome
    Antivirus: Kaspersky KIS 2015

    I installed the OS myself using a DVD. It's been a while since I could do OS installs in my sleep, and I'm not up to date with the latest BIOS options and UEFI in particular. Anyway, I've disabled Fast Boot in the BIOS, tried fixing the MBR per, and added (per another forum post here) various boot options (Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking and Safe Mode with Command Prompt).

    I've tried running sfc /scannow, which sometimes says problems were found and fixed; other times it finds problems but says they can't be fixed. Then I try dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth. This process can get me a clean boot once in a while, but not consistently.

    Given that the boot stalls with the 4 window panes but no progress indicator, I wonder if the problem is likely to be with the BIOS settings and/or hardware, or whether it is actually Windows related. I've got Windows boot logging enabled, but the logs don't show me anything on a failed boot. Nor do the Windows event logs. It's as if Windows just starts to load but can't get past some initial barrier. Yet eventually it does, with the use of F8 seeming to send it down a more productive path.

    There seems to be a low-level problem of some kind and any guidance on how to identify exactly where will be much appreciated. Once the system does boot, it works extremely well - some annoying event log warnings, but nothing major. I've spent some time getting all my software installed (development tools plus FSX) so I'm reluctant to wipe everything out with a fresh install.

    With thanks and regards

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64

    The first thing I saw on the list is you have Kasperky installed in your PC. Anti Virus software can cause the PC to boot up slow. In addition, your HD/RAM might be corrupted so it is hard to tell unless you run the test for each piece of Hardware you have.

    In the mean time, temporarily disable Kaspersky, and also disable all the startup items. Try to boot up to see if you'd have the same slow boot problem.

    EDIT: Also make sure you have the latest Video driver installed,
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    London, UK
    Posts : 3
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64

    Thank you for your quick response.

    Apologies if I made it sound like the boot was working slowly - actually, once the boot starts, it loads extremely quickly. My problem is that the boot process sticks at the screen with 4 blue window panes. If this happens, the machine stays stuck - no further loading how ever long I wait. So I recycle, press F8, then can usually get going from there.

    I think the machine came with some hardware diagnostics tools, so I'll certainly give that a go. And I take your point about Kaspersky slowing things down; I'll try turning that off. But I think my problem is earlier in the boot process, before Windows gets going (no rotating progress circle) and therefore before Kaspersky loads.

    Yes, I have the latest video driver and all Windows updates are installed.

    Thank you again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10

    If I boot from a full shut down, I typically see the four blue window panes on a black background. I want to see the rotating progress indicator below, and if that doesn't show within 10 seconds or so, I know the boot will stall.
    Samsung SSD 850 Pro 256GB (OS)
    Seagate ST2000DM001 SATA 2TB (Software installs)
    Western Digital WD20EZRX-22D8PB0 SATA 2TB (Documents)
    It would appear that you have another bootmgr on one of your other disks - or rather an invalid entry in your BCD file
    there are two programs that I use to read and edit the bcd - Bootice and easyBCD
    Easybcd will pull the bcd for the current OS and allow you to save a .txt file..

    being able to read your BCD would be a big help..
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    London, UK
    Posts : 3
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64

    Many thanks indeed for your response and thoughts.

    I've obtained and run EasyBCD and made a few tweaks, just removing the various Safe Mode entries I'd made earlier per my original post. I took a backup first, in case it helps to see what the values were.

    The results in EasyBCD are shown in the attached screenshots, one for each of Basic, Detailed and Edit. The presence of an entry for Hard Drive, with Device showing as Unknown and no Bootloader Path, is confusing. Maybe this is part of the mystique of the newer boot methods. Confirmation one way or the other would be welcome.

    I also notice a very small discrepancy in the GUIDs on the Detailed view. Under Windows Boot Manager, I see the same GUID for the default and displayorder entries while that for the resumeobject entry differs only in the last digit of the first group. That same GUID is used as the resumeobject value in the second group, Windows Boot Loader. In as much as computers don't usually make typos, I imagine this is OK but thought it was worth pointing out.

    Finally, I see that EasyBCD shows the device to be HarddiskVolume2 in the Windows Boot Manager section. I think this is the third partition of the SSD drive (Disk 0 in the screenshot of Disk Management, attached). Certainly C show as the Boot partition in Disk Management. Meanwhile the EFI system partition doesn't have a letter identifier - perhaps this is why the Hard Drive entry in EasyBCD's Overview specifies the device as Unknown? If that's the case, I wonder if Hard Drive should be set to be the default?

    How do these entries look to a more experienced practitioner?

    With thanks and best wishes
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails EasyBCD Detailed.PNG   EasyBCD Edit.PNG   EasyBCD Overview.PNG   Disk Management.PNG  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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